I bet you’ve encountered a situation where you’ve done or said something, but you don’t want other people to find out about it. But you weren’t alone. You were there with a friend. The next thing you say is, “Shh, don’t tell anyone about it.”
Your friend nods and says:
Don’t worry, you know me. Of course I won’t say a thing!
You nod back and go:
I know you won’t but I have to say it anyway. Just to be sure.
This recently happened to me. I had a conversation with some ex colleagues on WhatsApp about our company’s Employee Engagement Survey and how it affects the employees. We were informed that our responses are strictly private and confidential (this is debatable as the last time we took part in it, our honest-to-goodness answers ALMOST landed us in trouble (how our manager found out about our responses, we had no idea). This time, we were going to charge at it, hard and fast. No holds barred.
The difference is that I’m now on gardening leave, still attached to the company but not having to go in to office. So where does that leave me? My ex colleagues felt I should still participate anyway. After all, I haven’t really left the company. June 18 is my official last day with them and I still have a long way to go. So they encouraged me to do the survey anyway.
Naturally, I said to them:
Don’t tell anyone.
Not that it mattered, though. I doubt it would. Like I said, I am still an employee. The only difference is that I don’t go in to office anymore.
Of course their response was (yep, you guessed it):
Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.
But it felt like a disclaimer, you know, that it makes you feel better anyway when you tell someone not to tell anyone else. It makes you feel safe that your secret stays between you and your friends. It’s a disclaimer in life that you make to ensure they tell no one, even if you know you can trust them not to tell anyone. Sounds complicated, but it’s true.
Did you ever have to say it to your friends or you staunchly trusted your friends to keep things to themselves?